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Kings' Martinez could play in Game 1

Defenseman getting closer to return; Gaborik progressing

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez moved a step closer to returning to the lineup, moving into the rotation of the top six defensemen during practice at the Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday.

Martinez (undisclosed) missed the final four games of the regular season. He has 10 goals, 31 points and a plus-16 rating in 78 games this season.

On Tuesday, Martinez skated as an extra, but was a full participant Wednesday, taking a regular turn paired with Rob Scuderi. He also saw some time at the point on the second power-play unit.

The Kings play the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round at Staples Center on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, CSN-CA, FS-W, CBC, TVA Sports).

Coach Darryl Sutter did not provide an update on the availability of Martinez, saying a decision on the lineup would be made Thursday morning.

Video: First Round Preview: Kings vs Sharks

Forward Marian Gaborik, who sprained his knee during a Feb. 12 game against the New York Rangers, took half the rushes on a line with center Andy Andreoff and right wing Kris Versteeg on Wednesday.

"I'm progressing," Gaborik said after the 45-minute practice. "It's getting better."

Asked if he was available for Game 1, Gaborik, who scored 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games this season, said, "I'm not answering that."

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